18th July 2020 marks the 1st anniversary of the Kyoto Animation Studio Arson Attack that had taken place in Kyoto, Japan. The disaster that took place on 18th July 2019 is considered to be one of the deadliest massacres in Japan since World War II. This disaster ended up taking the lives of 36 people who were working in the studio at the time, while also injuring 34 other people who are no longer in life-threatening condition.
As the name suggests, Kyoto Animation’s Studio 1 located in the Fushimi Ward in Kyoto was attacked and set on fire by Shinji Aoba on the 18th of July 2019 at around 10:30 A.M. He poured around 40L of gasoline on the computers, equipment, and people then lit the place on fire. It was a horrendous act, to which caused damage to 70 lives, including the culprit himself. Upon catching fire, Shinji Aoba tried to escape but was chased and detained about 100 meters away from the scene of the crime by two employees.
The fire was brought under control at around 3 P.M and was completely extinguished the next day at 6:20 A.M but by the time the situation resolved, the people at the second and the third floor were burnt beyond recognition. This heartless crime garnered attention both in Japan and all over the world. Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, claimed he was speechless and devastated to hear the news, and announced for the first time that the donations received by the studio would be exempted from tax.
Many voice actors, fellow Anime Studios, along with Foreign diplomats shared their condolences to the media and offered to lend a hand in any and every way possible to both the Studio along with the employees whose life was either in danger or had been claimed in the fire.
Motive Behind This Heinous Crime| Shinji Aoba
Shinji Aoba, a 41-year-old man, had started the fire and tried to escape but was chased by employees of KyoAni before being apprehended by the Kyoto Prefectural Police near Rokujizō Station of Keihan Electric Railway. He had claimed that the studio had been ripping off his novel. Kyoto Animation Studio acknowledged receiving a submission from the suspect but claimed it hadn’t passed the first round of assessment and had been forgotten. The contents have been verified and had nothing similar to it being published by the Studio.
Shinji Aoba had received severe burns on his face, leg, and chest and was admitted into the University Hospital in Osaka for recovery and as of 5th September 2019, he was announced to no longer be in a life-threatening condition. He had acknowledged his crimes and apologized for his actions. He has come in terms with whatever punishment he is to receive, which is expected to be the death penalty. Aoba has a mental illness and also has a criminal record prior to the KyoAni incident, Aoba has been arrested for robbing a convenience store back in 2012 and had served a 3 and a half year prison sentence.
Taking into consideration his mental condition there may be a chance he might not get the death penalty instead he might get life imprisonment.
Compensation To The Victims | KyoAni Arson Attack
It was reported that Kyoto Animation Studio would need around ¥10,000,000,000 to be able to compensate the employees in order to provide them with hospital treatment along with compensating for the death of many others. This report sparked a huge movement from people across the world, fans, Studios, Actors everyone alike contributed to the company in the form of donations or buying products.
The Company received 330 million yen from domestic donations from many voice actors, Animation Studios, and fans. When it comes to donations received from abroad, Sentai Filmworks, an American Anime Licensor, made a GoFundMe for Kyoto Animation Studio and raised a total of US$2.3 Million which was successfully transferred in December of 2019 to Kyoto Animation Studio.